Build bridges, not walls

Nikhita on stage at the 2019 Adobe For All Summit.

By Adobe Life Team

Posted on 09-04-2020

Employee storytelling at Adobe is a powerful way to build empathy and inclusion. When employees share their life experiences in an honest and vulnerable way, other employees gain a greater appreciation and empathy for people different from them. This year, we will again showcase compelling and fascinating stories from our diverse employees at our annual Adobe For All internal event in September. Here is a look back at last year’s storytellers who inspired many across the company.

Consider a girl in her teens being called a mixed breed by her classmates at school. Now imagine that same girl in college, being excluded and judged for her unconventional upbringing. And finally, this girl grows up and joins an organization, where she sees two distinct cultural groups. And she finds herself lost in between.

This is the story of Nikhita Thakur.

A product of two extreme cultures of North and South India, Nikhita was raised with mixed values, mixed religions, mixed languages and even mixed cuisines. Nobody could relate to her, so they dismissed her experiences. She felt she never had one community that she could call her own.

But somewhere along the way, Nikhita discovered that in her uniqueness, lies her true strength.

The internship that changed everything

As Nikhita stepped through the doors of Adobe Headquarters in San Jose, California in 2016 for the start of her internship, she was thrown into a melting pot of people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, where being different no longer felt like a crime. There was no sorting hat, no regional language needed to be accepted into a group. So, for the first time ever, her friends comprised of Korean, Taiwanese, Czech, Dutch and Italian heritage!

After her internship, she came back to India only to realize that nothing had changed back home. People were still huddled together within their own little circles. This is when she realized that she needed to start building bridges and move from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion, starting with her own teammate Somya at Adobe, who is now her best friend despite their cultural differences.

Looking back at Adobe For All

When Nikhita looks back at her experience taking center stage at the 2019 Adobe For All Summit to share her story about promoting diversity and inclusion at the workplace, she feels it was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.

“One of the best outcomes of this journey was hearing my manager tell me how deeply my message resonated with him. He said that my story reminded him of his daughter who, like me, is growing up in a house with mixed cultures, and that he would make a conscious effort to raise her with a value system that emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion.

Knowing that my message could help shape the core values of the next generation filled me up with immense joy. Over the past year, I have also seen my friends and colleagues make conscious efforts to overcome their biases and prioritize allyship. So, to celebrate our growth a year later, I would like to remind everybody of the simple steps we can take to make Adobe—and the world—a safe space for all.

  1. Start by doing no harm. Unlearn your biases and make a conscious effort not to use them.
  2. Learn about and become sensitive to other cultures and respect everyone around you.
  3. And lastly, but most importantly, smile–it is the universal language after all.

Together, let us help each other move from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion. Let’s continue to build bridges and not walls.”

Learn more about Adobe For All on our Diversity site.

Topics: Adobe Culture, Employee Impact, Adobe Life, Diversity & Inclusion